Friday, July 11, 2014


I'm still having a ton of fun, working my way through the projects in Pam Carriker's book, Creating Art at the Speed of Life. And, I have to say, I think it's working -- this whole 30 projects in 30 days thing. I may not be pumping out a journal page a day, but I am painting and drawing every day, and it's finally beginning to feel more like a habit, instead of just a wish and a dream.

This fishy page, the last of the projects in the "Playful Palette" section, forced me to step out of my comfort zone and use a color I wouldn't normally pick. She told us to think of the color we tend to pick up first (I love warm corals and tangerines), then use the color that is opposite it on the color wheel to create a background. Well, I may not love blue, but it sure does make that tangerine pop!

From there we moved into the "Tactile By Nature" chapter, and played with some fun techniques for adding texture to your pages, like laying crumpled plastic wrap on wet water color, or sprinkling it with coarse salt or drips of alcohol. The only problem I'm having is that I chose the wrong journal to do this in. Most of the mixed-media artists I'm familiar with tend to use a lot of collage, gesso, and acrylic paints and sprays -- things that work well on non-porous surfaces that allow them to drip and roll around for interesting effects. So I chose one of Dyan Revealy's Dylusions journals. Big mistake. Turns out Carriker is a big fan of water color paint, which needs a porous surface that allows it to sink in. Sooooo, some of the fun techniques, like the scattered salt and alcohol drips, just don't seem to be working. Ah well, perhaps if I'd bothered to read the supply list first...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Well, the dog days are here my friends. We'll be heading into a string of triple digit days by the end of the week. Here in Texas, we enjoy summer right up until the 4th of July weekend. After that, we all start dreaming of fall! Seeing some of the photos my friends have been posting on facebook lately got me to thinkin' -- about some of the coping mechanisms we employ to deal with extreme heat, drought, and too many cloudless days. Fortunately, they were generous enough to let me share them with you.

Friends Heather and Marc have taken to hosting most of their parties, not just near the water, but IN the water, right behind their house.  They had one heckuva Independence Day celebration there!

Friends Phil and Julie do their aerobics exercises in the Blanco river.

Outdoor Woman and her fellow volunteers have even been known to hold business meetings there!

Of course, we've been awfully lucky this year, with much cooler temps and more rain than usual up to this point. There have been times when the creeks and rivers have all dried up by mid-summer, and then what do you do? Well, my friend Eric, who is a teacher, said their plan for coping with Texas summers is usually to get the heck outta Texas!

See, I told you there were mountains in Texas!
Which is why they sent me this photo from Balmorhea, a spring fed swimming hole in far west Texas -- their last stop in Texas before heading off towards cooler parts.

The luckiest sons-of-guns have friends in cooler climes who invite them to house-sit during the summer. Our friends Sherri and Ken just got back from a three week gig in Hawaii, and Teri and her hubby managed to land a two-month gig in Colorado. Some people have all the luck!

Me? Well, I've given up my long mid-day treks at the hike & bike, that's for sure. Instead I run outside as soon as it's light enough to see what I'm doing, and speed walk around the hidden part of our driveway -- in my nighty!

What about the rest of you Texans? How do you cope with the dog days of summer?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


I was staring at my little peach tree this weekend, wondering how on earth you know when to pick them. They have a lot of color on them now, but are still hard as rocks. Then a light bulb went off, and I remembered that two of my house-guests were from Georgia. "Hey! You guys know anything about peaches?" Well, ye-ah! They went out to examine it, and came back carrying several peaches each. They told me that their families always started picking them when they had a good bit of that rich red on them, but were still slightly hard, in order to outsmart all the critters who wanted them. They said the peaches would finish ripening indoors. They also reported that they had only seen one that had been chewed on so far.

A couple of days later I went out and picked a few more, and found four or five that had been chewed on.

This morning, when I went out to do my walking, the tree was swarming with birds. I shooed them off and went over to pick as many as I could, a third of which were already missing sizable chunks. So now, my kitchen looks like this.

Here's hoping they do, in fact, continue to ripen, 'cause right now? I'm just not smellin' it!

Monday, July 7, 2014


Well, despite 2nd degree burns on his hand, a couple of trips to the emergency clinic, and a near miss at burning our house down, my hubby declared it to have been an EPIC weekend. He's a funny boy, that hubby of mine.

Fortunately, not all of the weekend was quite so "interesting." There was a good bit of this...

and this...

Poor Areej, who is in grad school at U of H, had a big stack of papers to grade over the weekend.
and a whole bunch of this, which lasted into the wee hours of the morn, and got pret-ty interesting at times!

And, of course, there was the parade, which no one remembered to take any photos of. And food! Lots and lots of food.

Working up an appetite at Salt Lick Barbecue
Is there anything more refreshing than that made-on-the-spot lemonade at The Salt Lick?
And, perhaps, a beer or two.

Sampling the raspberry beer at Jester King Brewery.
OK, now that I think about it, I guess it was a fairly epic weekend!

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Well, we managed to pull him through yet another 4th of July celebration alive, 'tho not, alas, unscathed.

Reminds me of the time he won the chili cook-off in Indonesia with his infamous "Two Fingers Chili."
No, he didn't lose any fingers, but try using a keyboard with that on your hand!

Know what bothers him most? Not the pain, nor even the awkwardness. It's the fact that he managed to get second-degree burns from a gol-dang sparkler!